Reduction, elimination, and prevention of hairballs are vital for cats’ health.
If not cured and treated on time, it may prove fatal for your cat.
In this article, I have listed and reviewed the best hairball remedies for cats.
These can be fed to your cat orally, can be sprayed or sprinkled on the meal, and can also be applied to the cat’s paw.
So, a variety of hairball remedies are listed here in case your cat is one of the pickiest pets one could have.
Moreover, if you do not trust the commercially available remedies, then some homemade remedies are also mentioned in this article.
Natural Hairball Remedy Treatment for Cats
Dr. Stacey Wallach, aka Dr. Aarff.com, answers why cats get hairballs, prevention, and treatment:
Top Products that can help your cat with Hairballs
1. Epic Pet Health Cat Digest Natural Odorless Cat Supplement Spray That Reduces Hairballs and Constipation
- Manufacturer: Epic Pet Health
- Flavor: none
- Product amount: 2 ounces
- Since it has no flavor, the cats won’t notice it when you mix it in the water or in their food
- It is made out of food-grade ingredients so it is very safe to use
- The additional vitamins and nutrients in this remedy boost the cat’s overall digestive health
- This product helps remove hairballs naturally without any pain
- You can choose between a spray or dropper packaging as per your liking
- This remedy needs to be used 3 times a day for a total of 14 days for effective results so you will have to be extra vigilant with the treatment
2. Richard’s Organics Flavored Hairball Remedy – Chicken
- Manufacturer: Richard’s Organics
- Flavor: Chicken
- Product amount: 4.25 ounces
- The natural ingredients effectively get rid of the hairballs without harming the cat in any way
- Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids don’t just lubricate the hair out of the cat’s intestines, but also improve the cat’s coat and skin
- Its flavors lure the cat to eat the remedy happily
- It is free of petroleum and other such harmful ingredients
- This remedy also soothes the symptoms of hairball while getting rid of hairballs themselves
- If your cat doesn’t like Chicken, Tuna or the smell of these foods, this product will not work for you
3. Norbi Fresh Catnip Organic Nature Bottle
- Manufacturer: Norbi
- Flavor: none
- Product amount: 40ml
- This product is easy to use and can be given to the cat directly
- You can sprinkle it in the cat’s toys and mix it in food for easy intake for cat’s who are otherwise picky with what they eat
- It lubricates the hairballs to remove them naturally
- Issues like anorexia, emotional instability, and digestive problems can also be cured with this product
- The organic and natural ingredients have zero side effects
- Some cats will dislike the powdery texture
- The scent may not be every cat’s favorite
4. Vetoquinol Laxatone Lubricant for Hairballs Maple Flavor Cat Oral Gel
- Manufacturer: Lubricant Hairballs
- Flavor: Maple
- Product amount: 4.25 ounces
- The presence of laxatone lubricates the intestinal tracts for easy and painless removal of hairballs
- Additional Omega Fatty Acids make the hairball removal easier and also boost the cat’s coat and skin
- The maple flavor is a cat favorite. So, it will be easy to feed the cat
- You can directly feed this oral gel from the tube or by putting some of the cat’s paws. There is no need to go through the hassle of mixing it up in the cat’s food
- This gel has instant results after regular recommended use
- The by-products in the ingredients are not the best for sensitive cats
- There is only one flavor. So, if your cat isn’t a fan of maple, this product is useless for you
5. Catzymes Feline Probiotic Paste – Hairball, Gas and Diarrhea Relief
- Manufacturer: Catzymes
- Flavor: none in particular
- Product amount: 35g
- The generous amount of probiotics and prebiotics treats all sorts of gastrointestinal issues including hairball, itchiness, gas, diarrhea, and constipation
- This is a very strong and effective formula with minimal side effects
- It is an antibiotic that is also rich in vitamins
- The use of this product will get rid of hairball symptoms too
- It is not easy to feed this paste to cats. The product has to be fed with the syringe below the tongue. For this, you need to hold your cat and force it to open the mouth so it won’t be an easy process
- For the best results, this paste needs to be used up to 6 times a day which isn’t convenient for busy pet parents
- Its pasty texture is not loved by all cats
6. Cat Hairball Paw Gel 2 Pack Salmon Flavor
- Manufacturer: Nutri-Vet
- Flavor: Salmon
- Product amount: 2 packs, 3 ounces each
- This gel-based remedy is easy to use. You can feed it directly from the tube or apply it on the cat’s paws for it to lick off
- It gets rid of hairballs naturally
- All hairball related symptoms are also soothed by the use of this product
- Salmon flavor is a universal cat favorite so there probably won’t be an issue with that
- It is a vitamin and Omega fatty acid-rich product that boosts the appearance of the cat’s skin and coat
- You only have to use it twice every day for effective results so it won’t be a hassle at all
- This isn’t a fully organic formula. There is a presence of certain preservatives
- If your cat dislikes salmon, this product has no other alternative flavor for you to choose
7. Sentry HC Petromalt Hairball Relief for Cats Malt Flavor
- Manufacturer: Sentry Industries Inc.
- Flavor: Malt or Fish
- Product amount: 2 ounces
- The highly moisturizing and lubricating nature of this product helps eliminate hairballs easily
- It also prevents the formation of hairballs in the future
- Other than hairballs, this product cures dry cough, constipation, and vomiting too
- A very small amount of this product needs to be used on a weekly basis to achieve positive results
- The ingredients are not the most organic choices
- It cannot be mixed with food and must only either be fed directly from the tube or licked from the paw or nose
8. Vet Solutions Laxatone Hairball Remedy Tuna Flavor for Cats
- Manufacturer: Vet Solutions
- Flavor: Tuna
- Product amount: 2 packs, 4.25 ounces each
- It is a laxatone-based gel which is a very effective lubricant
- This remedy gets rid of hairballs and overall improves the digestive system of the cat
- You can get it in tuna or original flavor
- Only a small amount has to be fed for a short time period for successful results
- It is easy to use and the cats eat it willingly
- The ingredients include petrolatum which is a lubricant but, it can trigger negative results in some cats
9. Homeopathic Remedy Furball Relief Drops for Cats
- Manufacturer: HomeoPet
- Flavor: none
- Product amount: 15ml
- The homeopathic ingredients are free of any side effects
- It removes hairballs naturally
- The cat’s digestive system becomes healthier with the use of these drops
- Vomiting, retching, and lack of appetite can also be cured with this product
- Since it is free of harsh ingredients, it is safe to use for sensitive and pregnant cats too
- It is free of any flavor so it is suitable for all cats
- The lack of strong ingredients may prevent instant results
- You must feed this remedy directly without mixing it with food or water. This may be a challenge in the case of stubborn cats
10. Laxatone Hairball Remedy Catnip Flavor Gel Cat Supplement
- Manufacturer: Catnip Hairball
- Flavor: Catnip
- Product amount: 4.25 ounces
- This gel-based remedy is rich in lubricating ingredients that will quickly remove hairballs from your cat’s intestines
- It soothes the digestive system to cure constipation and other such issues
- You can easily feed this gel by applying it on the cat’s nose or paw or by feeding it directly from the tube
- It is rich in Omega fatty acids that also improve the cat’s skin and coat
- This product reaps quick results within a few days of use
- Catnip flavor may not be every cat’s favorite
- Includes petrolatum which may not be suitable for sensitive cats
- It cannot be mixed in meals so your cat will have to either lick it from its paw or eat it directly from the tube
How to Treat Hairballs in Cats
Homemade Remedies for Hairball
If commercially available hairball remedies are not something you trust, you can try a DIY remedy too.
The basic concept is to lubricate the cat’s intestines and stick together the hair inside the system for their easy removal.
You can easily use products from your kitchen to reap similar results.
Although homemade remedies do not remove hairballs as quickly, they are a preferred choice among pet parents who are extremely conscious about what goes into their cat’s belly.
One thing is for sure:
Homemade remedies definitely include better, safer, and healthier ingredients than the most organic product in the market.
There are a lot of recipes and products you can use.
The first is oil.
You would have noticed that most hairball remedy products include generous amounts of mineral oil.
Ultimately, what better lubricant can you find than oil itself?
From within your kitchen, you can use olive oil or melted butter.
Saffron oil and corn oil are also cat-safe options you can consider.
The way to feed these lubricants is by adding them to the cat’s meal.
Drizzle a few drops of oil or melted butter on the food so that the cat can easily ingest it.
A teaspoon of these lubricants is enough for a week.
Make sure to neither overfeed oil nor force it in the cat’s mouth.
This could result in breathing issues and choking.
Another great way of providing oil to your cat is by offering fish.
Canned tuna and sardine have high oil content so these two options are the best choices.
Other than oil, you can also use petroleum jelly.
Put a dollop in front of the cat and let it lick it.
Petrolatum and petroleum are also very commonly found in hairball remedy products.
Petroleum jelly is pretty much the same thing.
This isn’t the best remedy to use for sensitive cats.
Use canned pumpkins as a treat or a full-fledged meal.
Pumpkins are very rich in fiber.
Eating enough of them will make the poop like never before!
The fibers will also help weigh down the hair inside the digestive system so that they are removed from the body with the feces.
What Causes Hairball?
Hairballs are a very common issue in all cats.
It is especially recurring in long-haired cats.
Hairballs are formed by accumulated hair which comes from the fur of the cat.
Naturally, cats have a self-grooming habit.
They lick themselves continually to get rid of dirt.
During this process, some hair from the coat is also licked and ingested.
Since this is a pretty common happening, cats’ internal system has a natural way to cope with it.
The hair easily gets through the intestines for the most part.
The issue begins when the hair starts accumulating in the stomach.
Eventually, all this hair forms a ball, hence the name hairball.
These hairballs block the opening of the stomach which leads to all the other problem.
More often than not, cats vomit to get this ball out of the stomach.
But when these natural processes don’t work well, that’s when the remedies come in.
A healthy cat may have a few hairballs occasionally but it shouldn’t be a repetitive situation.
If you are noticing your cat vomit or cough in a way that indicates that it is trying to get rid of hairballs, or if you notice hairballs in the cat vomit or feces very often, it may be a red flag.
Excessive hairballs can be an indicator of skin diseases or gastrointestinal infections.
Your cat may be shedding more than usual which would lead to excessive hair in the cat’s digestive system.
Hairballs can also be a result of excessive grooming.
This could be either because the cat’s skin is feeling irritated or due to a behavioral issue such as anxiety.
If the cat fails to get rid of hairballs naturally and you always have to use a remedy to help the process, the chances are that there is some sort of gastrointestinal infection.
Lymphoma, bowel disease, and motility disorders are most likely the reason behind this problem.
In any of these case, other than using a remedy, you must also visit a vet for professional consultation.
How to Prevent Hairball in Cats?
It is very easy to prevent hairballs in cats.
So basically, the first thing to do will be to ensure that the cat is as healthy as possible.
Check off the possibility of any skin or gastrointestinal problem.
Next, figure out if the cat is having any behavioral issues.
Is that is so, help the cat get back to normal.
Another thing you must do to prevent over-grooming is to keep your cat and the environment clean.
Give your cat regular baths, brush its hair, keep it clean, clear out the litter box regularly, and keep the dust minimal in areas where the cat spends most of its time.
What you should add next is include steps in the routine that will eradicate existing hairballs and also prevent them in the future.
Oil is a very helpful ingredient in this process.
Make sure you drizzle a few drops of olive oil, corn oil, saffron oil or melted butter on the cat’s meals once every few weeks.
Other than that:
Double-check the nutritional value of your cat’s diet.
There needs to be a decent amount of fiber in the meals.
You can use canned foods to fulfill the fiber content.
Maintain a good balance between the amount of wet and dry food you feed your cat.
Wet food is better for digestive health whereas dry food is better for oral health.
On top of that:
If your cat gets hairballs very often, replace regular cat food with special hairball cat food.
If that’s too extreme for you, use hairball soothing treats once in a while.
Lastly, keep your cat well hydrated.
Dehydration can lead to a number of issues, especially related to digestive health.
How to Keep Your Cat Groomed?
One major aspect of minimizing hairballs is to keep your cat groomed.
Here is a quick rundown of everything you need to do to keep your cat neat and groomed at all times:
The most important step in grooming your cat to minimize hairballs is to brush its coat.
Usually, brushing the coat once a week is enough.
You must brush the coat at least twice a week if your cat is shedding more than usual.
Cats with longer hair may need more care than a short-haired cat.
Keep in mind that most cats hate getting their coat brushed.
So, to tackle that issue, get the right tool and approach the cat very calmly.
A rubber brush works the best since it is the softest.
Use a lot of treats and praises to lure the cat into getting itself brushed.
Keep the coat trimmed.
This step is totally based on your personal preference.
Cut the fur as much as you like and as often as you prefer.
Just make sure that if you plan on trimming the coat yourself, you use a safe product that won’t hurt the cat or yourself.
A safer but more expensive option is to visit a professional groomer.
You also need to bath your cat.
For a regular cat, a bath is only necessary when its fur gets dirty.
However, for a cat that is shedding too much or suffering from hairballs, a bath every other week or more often is mandatory.
Baths help get rid of weak hair that could eventually end up in the cat’s stomach.
Use a cat shampoo to keep the coat lush and shiny.
If you suspect that fleas or ticks have infected your cat, use an anti-flea shampoo.
Fleas and ticks can also cause cats to lick themselves excessively.
Other parts of grooming include nail trims and oral hygiene.
Although these factors do not contribute to hairballs, it is important to take care of them for a healthier cat.
Ear care is yet another grooming step that is often ignored.
You must clean out wax from your cat’s ears once every week to minimize the risk of infections.
How do I know if my cat has a blockage?
Symptoms of a blockage are pretty noticeable.
The first is dry cough and vomiting.
If your cat is spitting out hair from its mouth, or it looks like the cat is trying to throw up a hairball, there is definitely a hairball in your cat’s system.
If your cat is displaying signs of abdominal pain, chances are it has a blockage.
Moreover, loss of appetite and lethargy are also effects of a blockage.
Abdominal swelling and dehydration are other signs to look out for.
If the blockage is partial, the cat may have diarrhea too.
Otherwise, constipation is common in the case of blockage caused by hairballs.
Does wet cat food help with hairballs?
Generally, any cat food with high fiber content will help with hairballs.
It is usually wet foods that are richer in fiber as compared to dry foods so wet food does work better.
However, if you want the most effective outcome, you should opt for one of the commercially available special cat food that is meant to solve hairball issues.
This diet is formulated to target the problem of hairball in particular which is why they have a very successful outcome.
How long can cats go without food?
Generally, a cat must never go without for more than 24 hours.
A healthy cat will ask for meals at least 2 times a day along with occasional treats here and there.
In case your cat hasn’t eaten for up to 36 hours, it could be a sign of an illness.
Firstly, make sure you’re providing a cat-friendly food along with plenty of water.
If the cat still refuses to eat, you must visit a vet immediately.